Folking Around … news from around the wonderful world of folk


Exciting news – according to her Twitter account, Barnsley Nightingale Kate Rusby has completed the vocals on her new album. If it’s as good as Ghost and Life in a Paper Boat, then we’re in for a treat. website

Talking of new albums, Hastings-based husband and wife duo Trevor Moss and Hannah-Lou have released their fifth studio album (you can read a review in the next issue of Shire Folk). Called Fair Lady London, it’s a more DIY affair than their last Ethan Johns-produced album – 2015’s Expatriot – being recorded on the same Tascam 246 4-track cassette recorder they recorded La Ferme De Fountenaille (2012) on. Vive le DIY! we say. website

We’ve now heard the new album from LAU, Midnight and Closedown, and it’s a belter. Bound to be one of the albums of 2019. If you fancy finding out what it sounds like live you can catch them on tour in February at such venues as the Guildhall Theatre in Derby, Cheese and Grain in Frome, Birmingham’s Glee Club, St George’s in Bristol, the Wedgewood Rooms in Portsmouth, and The Stables in good old MK. They’ve also got some cool new T-shirts that you might want to avail yourselves of as well. website

Also pleased to see that some of our very favourite artists have been nominated in the Americana Association UK’s annual awards. Bennett Wilson Poole and Treetop Flyers are up for UK album of the Year, Courtney Marie Andrews and First Aid Kit for International album of the year, Dean Owen’s ‘Southern Wind’ for UK song of the year, and Darlingside and Israel Nash for International song of the year. Not only that but Bennett Wilson Poole are also nominated as UK artist of the year, and Seth Lakeman for UK Instrumentalist of the year. Any of them would be worthy winners, but you can find out who actually gets the gongs when they are handed out at the awards show at the Hackney Empire on 31 January. website

There is a treat coming up for long-term fans of Kathryn Williams. She’s only gone and produced a boxset that gathers all of her albums together, from Dog Leap Stairs to Hypoxia, and adds a whole heap of unreleased material culled from reel-to-reels, mini-disks, DAT-tapes, cassettes, and any other outdated format she’s committed music to. There’ll also be a book of lyrics and hi-res scans of some of her favourite paintings. It is indeed the very motherlode and one of your Shire Folk editors will be pre-ordering this straightaway. Pre-orders ship on 26 April and the box will hit the shops from 28 June. website

A year after it was recorded, singer and sometime actor Johnny Flynn’s live album with the Sussex Wit has finally been released. Called Live at the Roundhouse, it features a complete performance recorded, unsurprisingly enough, at the Roundhouse in London on 17 October 2017, with tracks spanning his entire career (including a studio recording of Flynn’s theme tune for BBC’s Detectorists series). Released as a download, double CD and triple vinyl. website

The first batch of names have been announced for 2019’s Cambridge Folk Festival, taking place at Cherry Hinton Hall on 14 August. Lucinda Williams will headline the festival on the Saturday night, while Richard Thompson will play a solo acoustic set. Other acts confirmed include Ralph McTell, José González, Tunng, Lisa O’Neill, Fisherman’s Friends, and Karine Polwart. This is in addition to Nick Mulvey’s curatorial role that we mentioned in the last issue. Friday and Sunday’s headliners are yet to be revealed, so watch this space. website

Country singer Bobbie Gentry might have been MIA since 1970 (apparently, she’s been living in a secluded gated community in Memphis since 2010), but with recently released material from the BBC and a superb anthology out there, there’s been renewed interest in the girl from Chickasaw County. Which is why we’re excited to hear that Mercury Rev are to release a ‘reimagining’ of Bobbie Gentry’s 1968 album The Delta Sweete (that’s the one with ‘Ode to Billie Joe’ on it). Released on 8 February, The Delta Sweete Revisited, as it’s called, features an impressive cast of guest vocalists including Norah Jones, Hope Sandoval, Beth Orton, Lucinda Williams, Vashti Bunyan, and Margo Price. A cause for celebration all round. website

Just as we were about to go to press the sad news came in of the death of academic and folk singer, Roy Bailey, at the age of 83. As a sociologist at the likes of Sheffield Polytechnic (now Sheffield Hallam University) and collaborator with some of the folk greats, such as Dave Swarbrick, Martin Carthy, and John Kirkpatrick, there are people more knowledgeable and better-placed to write a fitting obituary. All we’d say is that Roy and Tony Benn provided one of the most inspirational performances one of your Shire Folk editors has ever seen, when he saw their presentation of The Writing on the Wall.

Then came some equally sad news, when we learnt of the death of singer-songwriter Bill Caddick, aged 74. Bill had been singing on the folk circuit since the early 60s, but his debut solo album, Rough Music, didn’t came out until 1976. He worked with the National Theatre, writing and appearing in such productions as ‘Don Quixote’, ‘The Passion’ and ‘The Mysteries’. Of course he had a spell in The Albion Band, but he was probably best known as a member of Home Service. Many of his songs, such as ‘John O Dreams’, ‘Waiting for the Lark’ and ‘Unicorns’, were covered by artists including Emily Smith, June Tabor and Christy Moore.

All of us here at Shire Folk would like to send our condolences to the families and friends of these two legends of the British folk music scene.


Keston Cobblers


Maz O'Connor


Kim Edgar


Shire Folk Album of 2018

Moore, Moss Rutter